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Switching from engineering physics to physics

  1. Sep 5, 2013 #1

    I am a student currently in engineering physics considering moving to physics. I'm wondering if it's a bad move from me or not since we know it usually goes the other way around, with physics students switching to an engineering program.

    This semester I actually wanted to move to business school but after the few courses I had (like marketing and what not), I didn't like the general impression that business school gave me and I felt like it was not worth it. I still have the problem that I lost interest in engineering (physics engineering in particular) so I thought that the best thing I could do for the moment is to finish my major in Physics (I'm pretty far in it already since engineering physics and physics share the same classes over here) to reach a certain ''checkpoint'' where I could choose where to go next.

    I was then wondering: what are the options for me once I get my major? Is it possible to go for an MBA with only a major in Physics? For instance here at my university the business school offers a sort of MBA (or master's degree) called ''financial engineering'', which is basically engineering-oriented finance. So, can a major in Physics + MBA in this program prove interesting to a future employer? Or any MBA at all?

    My second plan if I don't feel like going to business school again would be to go for a master's degree, so I was wondering: is a master's degree in Physics still valuable nowadays in the industry? Does the industry recruit physicists anymore or is my only option if I go for master's degree will be to work as a researcher in university for instance?

    Thanks, and sorry for my not so good english. :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 5, 2013 #2


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    You seem to be going all over the place.

    What exactly do you intend to do here? What type of jobs were you aiming for?

  4. Sep 5, 2013 #3
    Sorry if it's not clear.

    Basically, I'm wondering if it's possible to work in the domain of physics or engineering without being exactly a researcher or scientist, like, be part of the management team (financial services for instance) for a research company or engineering firm. I'm just not sure if you really need a master's degree in physics to do such a job or if a major in physics + business-oriented master's degree is appealing at all for such employers.

    Being in engineering before, I always thought that a major in physics forces to go for a master's degree afterwards and a Ph.D if you want, and then you are stuck doing research for the rest of your career. I would simply like to end the major in physics since it's actually a very fun experience, but just not go any further that a major (since I'm not sure I would really like doing research).
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2013
  5. Sep 5, 2013 #4
    There is nothing stopping you from quitting science at the BS level and then getting an MBA. But I dont think that physics BS would do anything for your business career. Like you say though, its a fun experience.

    As for a master's degree, one generally doesnt go for a masters in physics. You either get one along the way to a PhD or you get a masters in something else. There are some applied physics masters that specifically train you to be a technician in industry. Doing research in a university requires more than a masters and it usually requires more than just a PhD.
  6. Sep 5, 2013 #5


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    I can't imagine that a degree in physics would be all that different from a degree in engineering physics. A few of the courses may be different, but when I went through undergrad I had a lot of classes with the engineering physics folks. The major advantage that engineering has is that it's a professional degree and therefore markets itself a lot more easily than a physics degree. I would only consider moving to physics if you're reasonably sure that you want to go to graduate school for physics.

    For specific programs such as this master's degree in financial engineering, you realyl just half to look up the entrance requirements.

    MBA programs are quite diverse. Generally speaking you can get in without any business background. Some are even tailored to people coming in from the sciences. Others are highly competative and will require a certain combination of prerequisit courses and actual business experience. Again, your best bet is just to browse the entrance requirements for the specific programs that interest you.
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